SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Senior year may have just begun for high school students across KELOLAND, but South Dakota colleges are encouraging students to start applying for higher education right now.

“Get on the ball now, start looking at those financial resources,” Dakota State University’s Assistant Director of Admission Amber Schmidt said.

Admissions counselors always encourage students to start applying for college in the fall so they can take advantage of all financial aid opportunities.

“There’s a lot of deadlines you want to be watching for scholarships,” Schmidt said. “This is the time to apply so you don’t miss out on those opportunities.”

The first savings opportunity is happening right now with free applications to most South Dakota universities.

“In the past we had one week and high school counselors really helped to push the free application for students that week,” Schmidt said. “This year we are opening it up for South Dakotans to apply now all the way up through November 30th.”

For the next several weeks students can apply without any fees to all universities participating in the Our Dakota Dream campaign.

“Really helping to push college access with free apps and college FAFSA assistance,” Schmidt said.

“We have an amazing financial aid staff that will sit down with families and help them file the FAFSA if it’s just help going through the process of submitting FAFSA for the first time or going over options of other ways to pay for college,” Augustana University’s Assistant VP for Enrollment Management Adam Heinitz said.

While Augustana University is not a part of the Our Dakota Dream campaign, the Sioux Falls private institution has been offering free applications for more than 15 years.

“It’s really about removing barriers for students. We don’t believe students should have the cost of an application to be a barrier for them to apply to college,” Heinitz said.

And for the next six weeks, South Dakota seniors have a risk-free chance to check out just about any school in the state.

“This is really about the student, it’s not about generating applications, it’s about making sure that students have access and opportunities to all the places that will hopefully help them find their best fit,” Heinitz said.

Augustana’s no application fee is year-round, a policy that’s becoming increasingly popular at many universities.

Here’s the list of all the South Dakota universities waiving their application fees for the next six weeks.